The George Washington University Hospital has been a leader in providing behavioral healthcare to area residents for more than a century. 

The aim of psychiatric services at GW Hospital is to provide care that enhances the opportunity for recovery and exceeds the expectations of patients and referral sources. 

Inpatient Psychiatric Hospitalization

The GW Hospital 20-bed unit for adults aged 18 and older offers a range of psychiatric and dual-diagnosis treatments. The unit offers a highly structured mental health treatment program with 24-hour nursing in a locked, secure setting. The short-term stabilization unit is designed to help patients move through a mental health crisis and gain the coping skills and resources necessary to successfully transition to the next stage of treatment. Each adult works with a multidisciplinary psychiatric team including a psychiatrist, social worker, nurses, mental health technicians and a therapist to identify and meet treatment objections and achieve stabilization. Treatments include:

  • A comprehensive psychiatric assessment
  • Medication evaluation
  • Comprehensive psychosocial assessment
  • Client-centered treatment planning
  • Psychoeducation
  • Individual, group and family therapy

The objective of inpatient hospitalization is to provide a safe, secure environment for patients experiencing an acute psychiatric crisis. The length of stay is based on each patient’s situation, ranging from a few days to a week. Treatment is focused on stabilizing acute symptoms and assisting each patient in accessing the resources, supports and skills necessary to move through the crisis and develop a successful plan to continue treatment in a less restrictive treatment setting following discharge.

Psychiatric Emergency Services

GW Hospital provides emergency psychiatric services 24 hours a day, seven days a week to evaluate patients who have a mental health concern or crisis. The psychiatric team works in consultation with emergency room physicians to provide specialized behavioral health assessments, including:

  • Comprehensive psychiatric assessments
  • Crisis intervention
  • Recommendations for level of care including inpatient psychiatric hospitalization
  • Referrals to appropriate mental health resources

Consult and Liaison Psychiatry Services

GW Consult and Liaison Services specialize in the evaluation and treatment of hospitalized patients who have medical as well as psychiatric concerns. The staff works collaboratively with the primary treatment team onissues including:

  • Participating in the evaluation and management of altered mental status
  • Evaluation of cognitive impairment associated with dementia
  • Capacity to make informed decisions or to delegate those powers
  • Depression in the elderly or medically ill; as well as working with traditional medical patients with serious chronic illnesses, such as asthma, heart failure and diabetes
  • Suicide attempts and suicidal ideations on the medical floors
  • Somatoform (mental illnesses that cause bodily symptoms) and factitious disorders
  • Non-epileptic seizures
  • Anxiety/agitation in the medically ill
  • Secondary anxiety, mood and psychotic disorders
  • AIDS-related secondary mental disorders
  • Substance abuse/mental illness-associated syndromes

The Staff

The GW Hospital Behavioral Health Services staff consists of:

  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychiatric registered nurses
  • Mental health technicians
  • Clinical social workers
  • Psychologists
  • Therapists

The George Washington University Hospital is a teaching hospital with a mental health team of psychiatry interns, residents and medical students. Each patient works with a highly-skilled, committed and compassionate interdisciplinary team throughout the course of treatment.

The progressive treatment used in patient healing includes a wide range of conventional and advanced intervention techniques. Licensed and certified professionals with a team of advanced interns and trainees offer creative therapies as an essential part of therapeutic expansion, including individual therapies for focused exploration, therapeutic activities, art therapy, expressive therapy, holistic therapy, process groups, knowledge and skill activities and other specialized therapies. Mindfulness, exercise and yoga interventions conclude the therapy offering.